• Maintaining proper composure and perspective, even when the stakes are high

  • Offering a steady and consistent approach in the midst of stressful circumstances

  • Reducing the stress in others while staying collected, despite external agitation


This is Peppermint. As I have previously shared, this is the dog that lives at my house.

Tonight, as I was sitting down to type my thoughts about this week’s FFL GuideMark, Calming Presence, Peppermint began to bark. It was late at night and everyone was asleep in our house except me (and Peppermint!) I rushed to the door and let Peppermint outside. She spent a few minutes barking and then eventually settled down and decided to come back in the house.

I don’t know what startled her or why she started barking. Peppermint doesn’t bark often at night. She is by no means a perfect dog, but I have to give her credit: she isn’t a bark-a-lot-at-night-for-no-good-reason dog. In fact, she is pretty quiet at night. Therefore, when she does bark, I tend to be pretty responsive to her.


This made me think about calming presence. I want to be a leader who is heard by my teammates, my clients, my family and friends. If all I ever do is walk around the office, or home, barking orders, slamming doors or pulling fire alarms (metaphorical, that is), then at some point, most people will start to tune me out. Alerts are less likely to be heard and heeded if they are incessantly raised.

When Peppermint barked tonight, I jumped out of my chair and went immediately to see what was going on. If she barked all the time, I probably would have just ignored her. Instead, I promptly responded to her.


At Funds For Learning, we strive to be a calming presence for each other and for our clients. We work to maintain proper composure and perspective, even when the stakes are high. Of course, sometimes we need to sound the alarm about a particular issue. But, by maintaining a calming presence the rest of the time, we actually increase the chances that our “real” alerts will be heard and acted upon.

This week, try hard to be a calming presence in the lives of those with whom you come into contact. Staying calm during stressful times helps everyone around you. And, like some sort of two-for-one special, being calm most of the time will pay dividends when it does come time to alert others.

Key Words and Phrases

Steady and collected; Not agitated or disturbed; Steadiness of mind under stress; Composed; Peaceful; Cause to be calm; Collected; Abate stress.

Opposite Terms

Agitation; Commotion; Disturb; Stir up.


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